India lends surveillance aircraft one day before Chinese ‘spy’ ship docks in Sri Lanka
On the occasion of its 75th Independence Day, India will hand over the maritime surveillance aircraft Dornier 228 to Sri Lanka on a gratis basis for two years.
The aircraft is being lent to Sri Lank for two years until a plane manufactured for the neighbouring country is ready. The aircraft comes as a sequel to a bilateral dialogue that took place on January 9, 2018, in New Delhi when the Sri Lankan government sought the possibility of obtaining two Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India.
The Dornier 228 will be handed over in a ceremony at the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Monday (August 15). Present will be Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay.
The aircraft will be handed over by Indian Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral Satish N Ghormade to his Sri Lankan counterpart.
The handing over of the aircraft comes one day before the Chinese ship “Yuan Wang 5” docks at the port of Hambantota for a week.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed that the Chinese vessel, widely believed to be a spy ship, has been given clearance to arrive at Hambantota Port on Tuesday.
Hambantota port, located around 250km from Colombo was built with high-interest Chinese loans. The Sri Lankan government struggled to repay the debt they had taken from China following which the port was handed over to the Chinese on a 99-year lease.
“Having considered all material in place, the clearance to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China was conveyed for the deferred arrival of the vessel from August 16-22,” the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Indian Naval Dornier (INDO – 228) is basically a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL), multirole light transport aircraft used by the Indian Navy for electronic warfare missions, maritime surveillance, disaster relief and other work with a turboprop twin-engine, produced since 1981.
The Sri Lankan Air Force intends to employ the Dornier aircraft specifically to conduct Maritime and Coastal Surveillance Operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Search and Rescue Operations (SAR), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and Maritime Pollution Monitoring and Control within Sri Lankan Search and Rescue Region (SRR) to attain SLAF ultimate vision of “Ensuring the National Security through Effective Employment of Airpower” within Sri Lankan Airspace.
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